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Thread: Brand New Pool with Saltwater System

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    Brand New Pool with Saltwater System

    I just put up a 16' round Intex Ultraframe pool. I replaced the filter it came with by a 2650 gph Sand Filter and Saltwater System combo from Intex. I ran the pump with saltwater system in BOOST mode for over 8 hours today.

    Here is my problem. I tested the water with the Intex test strip that came with the pump before the boost cycle, and found that there is no chlorine which was expected.

    After the boost cycle, I tested the water again, and the strip showed no chlorine. I plan on running a boost cycle for 8 hours again tomorrow but I am wondering what's going on here. Is that normal? Anyone with saltwater system could shed some light here.

    Also for other readings, I got colors that did not even exist on the comparator chart. So I have no idea what their levels are. pH was dark red color, may be it was higher than the max since the colors were going from light brown to dark brown. Copper color was out as well, but I think alkalinity was showing Ok.

    Any suggestion? I had read people saying taht they bought the saltwater system and they never have to put a single chemical. Maybe they start off with a balance pool and they never have to add any chemicals, but if my shocking tomorrow for 8 hours wouldn't change the chlorine level, I guess I will have to add some chemicals to balance it.
    Intex AG 16' round x 48" deep
    5500 gallons
    Intex Sand Filter with Saltwater System Combo - 2650 gph
    Installed: Sept 24, 2013

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    Mod Squad YippeeSkippy's Avatar
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    Re: Brand New Pool with Saltwater System

    Did you add enough salt to get it up to snuff? Have you tested your salt level yet?
    You don't want to go days without *any* chlorine in there so I would add liquid bleach in there (using the pool calculator ap to guide how much) to bring it up to your desired level and then let the SWG maintain that. Your use of a "boost" setting is not "shocking" the pool, its just raising the output. SWG aren't good for SLAMing (previously known as shocking) the pool, but rather maintaining a constant low level chlorine presence. If you have any organics in the water you need to deal with them aggressively.
    Also- you need a big boy's test kit cause those kiddy strips ain't gonna tell you what you need to know! You want precision for safe pool care and strips are not very accurate. (Neither is pool store testing, since their motivation may be to sell you some product). I like the TF-100 myself.
    My Amazon Smile for November12K Fiberglass IG, Infinity 4000 automatic cover, SWCG, Hayward Sand Filter, Hayward 1.5 Pump, Doheny Discovery Robot, Savi Melody LED pool lights, outdoor speakers and other assorted doo-dads. Sundance Altamar Hot Tub.
    Our pool build--> Our Pool Solved Our Sloping Yard Skippy's Cheap Pool Cooler -->Skippy's New Fountain

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    JFB's Avatar
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    Re: Brand New Pool with Saltwater System

    I echo YippeeSkippy's comments.

    It starts with a good test kit (TF-100) http://tftestkits.net/TF-100-Test-Kit-p4.html in order for you to analyse your water and know exactly what is in it, and what needs to be added. SWGs, as you will find out (as I found out this summer) are great at MAINTAINING an FC (free chlorine) level, but they are horrible at ACHIEVING that level. In order to bring your pool up to the required FC level, you need to add bleach initially. Once you are at your level, your SWG will maintain it there.

    But, even before that, it is imperative you test for stabilizer (CYA) pool-school/chlorine_cya_chart_shock as this will guide you to which FC level you are trying to achieve so algae doesn't bloom... Again, being without FC for a few days will allow algea to set foot and then you'll need to SLAM (which is what you are trying to avoid in the first place!!) pool-school/shocking_your_pool

    What is likely happening in your pool is there is a very low level of stabilizer and the sun is burning off what little FC your SWG is creating...

    Reading pool school a few times will help you out quite a bit. It did me. Here are the articles I recommend to get you started:

    pool-school/pool_water_chemistry
    pool-school/bbb_for_pools
    pool-school/chlorine_cya_chart_shock
    pool-school/recommended_levels
    pool-school/water_balance_saltwater_generator
    pool-school/salt_water_chlorine_generators
    pool-school/shocking_your_pool
    pool-school/overnight_fc_test
    JF

    13.5k gallons, IG, Vinyl, Hayward C3030 Cartridge, Hayward Tristar 3/4hp single speed, Hayward T-15 SWG, Hayward P4 automation, 234 sqft Solex Solar panels. April 2013 construction, Dolphin DX4 robot, TF-100 test kit, Pentair Deck Jets 2.

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    Re: Brand New Pool with Saltwater System

    Thank you guys for your input.

    I went to Leslie, and got the test done. The guy appeared to know what he was doing. He didn't push me to buy anything either which is quite the contrary to what I have been reading around here.

    Anyway here are my test results:

    FC 1
    TC 1
    Salt 3800 (Little high, but I think it is good since it would help generate chlorine at faster rate)
    Calcium Hardness 200
    Cyanuric Acid 0 (Very low)
    TA 150 (high)
    pH 8.0 (high)
    Copper 0
    Iron 0

    Looks like the Chlorine did go up to 1 after running the saltwater system for 8 hours in boost mode yesterday. I have left it running in the boost mode today as well to continue to run for 8 hours. I am thinking this should bring the chlorine to about 2 which should be good level.

    pH and alkalinity is a little high, but the pool water feels extremely comfortable. Do I need to do something about it?

    My main concern is no CyA. Do I have to have it? Given that I have saltwater system and it will continue to inject the chlorine every day, do I really have to have it in the water? So far I haven't added any chemicals in the water except salt, I would like to keep it that way if possible. It has been two days and the water is crystal clear so far. In the saltwater system reviews, I have seen people saying that they haven't added any chemicals to their pool since they put the saltwater system, but I am not sure if they started from scratch like me or they started with a balanced pool.

    If I have to do something about it, what should I do? At Leslie's, after when I asked what can I do for CyA, the guy showed me a big gallon (I think) of liquid that I could use to raise the CyA. He said that would be appropriate for the above ground pools with vinyl since I don't have skimmer. The granular form would be for the pools with skimmer. Would that liquid be the right thing to use? It was for $35. Can I find it cheaper anywhere else?

    One more thing I don't understand is that in the chart at pool-school/chlorine_cya_chart_shock it seems higher the value of CyA, higher the minimum FC level is? You would think higher the stabilizer, less chlorine you need since it doesn't get burned out by sunlight, no?

    Thanks for your help.
    Intex AG 16' round x 48" deep
    5500 gallons
    Intex Sand Filter with Saltwater System Combo - 2650 gph
    Installed: Sept 24, 2013

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    JFB's Avatar
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    Re: Brand New Pool with Saltwater System

    shah,

    When you have time, please read pool-school/read_before_you_post It will help you gives us the information we require to help you as best we can.

    As far as the SWG. Please believe me when I tell you (and I won't be the only one) that you will have algae before the SWG can bring your FC up to the recommended level. Add liquid bleach as soon as you can and bring your FC up to at least 3 or 4. Use pool-school/pool_calculator to calculate how much liquid bleach to add. It won't be much, and won't cost a lot (less than 5$) but it will save you a lot of headaches.

    Your salt seems a little high. I think most manufacturers recommend between 2700 and 3200 ppm. Outside those limits, the SWG will simply refuse to function, telling you to adjust the salt level. Check your manufacturer's recommended salt level.

    Your TA and pH are both a high. But you can correct both those easily. Read pool-school/recommended_pool_chemicals for instructions on how to keep your chemicals within the recommended range.

    Your CYA is too low. Remember CYA does two things, it protects the chlorine by reducing the effect of the sun's UV rays but also reduces the chlorine's ability to sanitize your pool. Without CYA, your chlorine will probably burn off in one day, especially if you have a lot of bathers. Your SWG simply won't be able to keep up. With CYA, sure your FC needs to be higher, but you'll find your SWG will be working a lot less throughout a 24hr period (case and point, right now you have it on 100%(boost) 24/7 and you're barely making 1 FC per day. With CYA you'll have your SWG set at about 25%-35% depending on your usage).

    Of course the water is clear and comfortable now, you probably just filled it. But without the proper chemical balance, you will find out quickly why testing and properly balancing your water is what this site is all about. Most people here will recommend the granular form of CYA. Put it in a sock and hang it in front of a return. It dissolves slowly and takes about a week to show up in testing.

    My recommendation from here. Fix your pH, then add bleach to bring FC up then add stabilizer. Use the pool calculator to bring your levels up to pool-school/recommended_levels no less, no more. If you do all that, you will have crystal clear water for as long as you maintain your levels in check.
    JF

    13.5k gallons, IG, Vinyl, Hayward C3030 Cartridge, Hayward Tristar 3/4hp single speed, Hayward T-15 SWG, Hayward P4 automation, 234 sqft Solex Solar panels. April 2013 construction, Dolphin DX4 robot, TF-100 test kit, Pentair Deck Jets 2.

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    Re: Brand New Pool with Saltwater System

    Welcome to the forum. You still have some reading to do in Pool School. I would start with "The ABC's of Pool Water Chemistry".

    FC/CYA chart demonstrates the need to have a higher FC when your CYA is higher for correct sanitation. Is does not work like you are thinking.

    pH of 8.0 is too high regardless of how it feels to you. Pool water pH should be kept in the 7's

    0 CYA in your pool is overtaxing your SWG and may prevent it from being able to keep FC adequate.
    Dave S.
    42k vinyl and concrete pool, 1.5hp pump, 140gpm filter
    TFTestkits , PoolMath , Pool School

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    Re: Brand New Pool with Saltwater System

    Quote Originally Posted by shah
    I ran the pump with saltwater system in BOOST mode for over 8 hours today.
    After the boost cycle, I tested the water again, and the strip showed no chlorine. I plan on running a boost cycle for 8 hours again tomorrow but I am wondering what's going on here. Is that normal? Anyone with saltwater system could shed some light here.
    Be aware that very high FC levels can read as 0 or low chlorine due to bleaching out of the reagents. An FAS-DPD test kit won't bleach out in most cases, and would be a very good investment in maintaining the overall water quality. Test strips will not give you the quality of test results you need to maintain optimum water quality at the lowest possible cost.

    Very high chlorine can also affect the other test colors, so it's important to be able to detect when this is happening.

    I'm not sure if this is happening, or not. Most likely the FC is just low.

    Also, copper is not a good thing to use in the pool as it can lead to staining and possibly turning people's hair green.

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    CyA and Chlorine Vanished?

    Mod edit: I moved this post to your first topic here to keep all the information in one place. Thanks, moderator linen

    I have a brand new pool - only a couple of weeks old. I have a sand filter and saltwater system combo with capacity of 2650 gph.

    I have been trying to maintain the level of Chlorine. At first I noticed my SWG would barely raise the chlorine level by 1ppm if run for like 8 hours or so.

    So I started adding the liquid chlorine. Whenever I would test the water about 15 min after adding the liquid chlorine I would notice that the chlorine level has gone up by 1 to 2 ppm.

    But this won't last long. It would vanish within a few hours (3 to 4 hours) if it is daytime.

    So I decided I need CyA.

    Yesterday evening I bought a gallon of liquid CyA from Leslie's and poured half of the bottle. The bottle said that it would raise CyA by 30ppm for 10,000 gallon pool. For my 5500 gallon pool, it should raise it by 60ppm. I did not want to pour the whole of it. I targetted 30 ppm so I added a half of the bottle. I also added liquid chlorine. I tested the chlorine after 15 min or so and it was showing about 2 ppm - raised from almost 0.

    This morning at around 8:00 I tested it again, and it was still showing 2. But later in the afternoon at about 12:00pm I tested it again and it was back to 0. I took a water sample to Leslie's and the guy tested it and not only Chlorine was showing 0, even the CyA was showing 0.

    My questions:
    1. Is it normal for the Chlorine to drop from 2 to 0 in just a few hours (4 to 5 hours) without CyA?
    2. How come after adding half bottle of liquid CyA, the level is still 0? Do I have to wait for a week or so for it to kick in? I thought that was for the solid granules.

    Any help will be appreciated.

    Thanks.
    Intex AG 16' round x 48" deep
    5500 gallons
    Intex Sand Filter with Saltwater System Combo - 2650 gph
    Installed: Sept 24, 2013

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    linen's Avatar
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    Re: Brand New Pool with Saltwater System

    Welcome to tfp, shah

    Quote Originally Posted by shah
    So I started adding the liquid chlorine. Whenever I would test the water about 15 min after adding the liquid chlorine I would notice that the chlorine level has gone up by 1 to 2 ppm.

    But this won't last long. It would vanish within a few hours (3 to 4 hours) if it is daytime.
    Without cya in the water your FC will not last long. By the way, you should probably circulate for 1/2 hour before testing after adding chlorine.

    Quote Originally Posted by shah
    Yesterday evening I bought a gallon of liquid CyA from Leslie's and poured half of the bottle.
    Your pool is actually 5061 gallons per intex's swg manual. 64 ounces of liquid cya should raise you to ~36 ppm cya.

    Quote Originally Posted by shah
    I took a water sample to Leslie's and the guy tested it and not only Chlorine was showing 0, even the CyA was showing 0.
    It is not uncommon for pool stores to get cya testing wrong. Do you know what they used for a test kit?

    Quote Originally Posted by shah
    1. Is it normal for the Chlorine to drop from 2 to 0 in just a few hours (4 to 5 hours) without CyA?
    Yes, if the pool is getting a lot of sun.

    Quote Originally Posted by shah
    2. How come after adding half bottle of liquid CyA, the level is still 0? Do I have to wait for a week or so for it to kick in? I thought that was for the solid granules.
    Yes, the cya should be up to its final value after a couple of hours circulation. Leslies was likely wrong on the test.
    TFP Expert who uses Pool School and my TF100 test kit along with PoolMath for my: Round 11K gallon AGP with deep end, 20" sand filter, Matrix 1hp 2spd, 6 2ftX20ft solar panels (and solar cover!), Intex SWCG (copper bars disconnected) and a Rubadub hot tub (chlorine). The SLAM process is not finished until: 1. CC < 0.5 ppm, 2. An OCLT < 1.0 ppm and, 3. The water is crystal clear.

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    Re: Brand New Pool with Saltwater System

    Hi linen,

    Thanks for the response.

    I have no idea what kind of test he used. All I saw was that he had a test tube like thingy, and some fancy stirrer that he was moving up and down and the liquid did not have any color, while telling me that CyA level is 0.

    Now the issue is that I don't know what to do. Should I pour in more CyA or should I hold off on it?

    But obviously there is not enough CyA since the chlorine level dropped from about 2 to 0 in only 4 to 5 hours in sunny weather with temperature range of 75 to 80 F.

    I am thinking I should go ahead and add some more CyA.

    I have to say, this is just what I was trying to avoid and bought the SWG system for, but I see myself adding chlorine daily and testing and running the pump for hours, with the pool still with no chlorine. Good thing is that at least I haven't had an onset of algae and the water is still crystal clear - minus the bugs sitting on the surface (for which I have ordered an intex deluxe skimmer - hopefully it will take care of that).

    Thanks.
    Intex AG 16' round x 48" deep
    5500 gallons
    Intex Sand Filter with Saltwater System Combo - 2650 gph
    Installed: Sept 24, 2013

  11. Back To Top    #11
    pwrstrk's Avatar
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    Re: Brand New Pool with Saltwater System

    It sounds like to me you need to review this again pool-school/water_balance_saltwater_generator.
    Once you get everything set up properly, things will be a lot easier for you.
    Your CYA level for a SWG is 70 - 80 ppm.
    Jeff
    24'x54" AG Morada RTR (by wilbar) 13'500 gal. Hayward Powerflo Matrix 1hp 2 speed. Hayward Perflex EC65 DE filter.

  12. Back To Top    #12
    linen's Avatar
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    Re: Brand New Pool with Saltwater System

    Quote Originally Posted by shah
    I have no idea what kind of test he used. All I saw was that he had a test tube like thingy, and some fancy stirrer that he was moving up and down and the liquid did not have any color, while telling me that CyA level is 0.
    That sounds like the "right" test for cya, but if they read it indoors that could be the source of error. Also, low levels of cya can be tricky to read.

    Quote Originally Posted by shah
    Now the issue is that I don't know what to do. Should I pour in more CyA or should I hold off on it?
    Since you were at 0, and you know how much liquid cya you used...then all you have to do is top it off as pwrstrk said to 70-80 ppm. I would use the granular version of cya since it is much cheaper (make sure you specify which you are using in the poolcalculator.com when calculating how much to add). I would assume you are at 36 ppm cya now.

    Quote Originally Posted by shah
    But obviously there is not enough CyA since the chlorine level dropped from about 2 to 0 in only 4 to 5 hours in sunny weather with temperature range of 75 to 80 F.
    At ~ 36 ppm, and if you have direct fun sun, in an average pool the is free of algae, the FC will drop about 60% during the day...so it would drop from 2 to 0.8 ppm in an afternoon (close enough to what you saw).
    TFP Expert who uses Pool School and my TF100 test kit along with PoolMath for my: Round 11K gallon AGP with deep end, 20" sand filter, Matrix 1hp 2spd, 6 2ftX20ft solar panels (and solar cover!), Intex SWCG (copper bars disconnected) and a Rubadub hot tub (chlorine). The SLAM process is not finished until: 1. CC < 0.5 ppm, 2. An OCLT < 1.0 ppm and, 3. The water is crystal clear.

  13. Back To Top    #13

    Re: Brand New Pool with Saltwater System

    Thank you guys. I will try to bring my chemical levels to the levels specified in the article: pool-school/water_balance_saltwater_generator
    and go from there.
    Intex AG 16' round x 48" deep
    5500 gallons
    Intex Sand Filter with Saltwater System Combo - 2650 gph
    Installed: Sept 24, 2013

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